Since you asked, I’ll tell you why Blueberries remind me of Sophia Loren.
It’s because I was young once — in Maine In summer — and worked a Tabbutt rake Through sequins of low bush dew until The sun made me think of a dark-haired girl In a white apron with a baby crooked in one arm Her free hand sweeping damp hair From her forehead — and I wanted to nurture.
That summer I filled many bushels and collected my pay. And something fell to earth and something blew away.
There never was a bird—in that cage.
Whitewashed for company who never visit.
Never muss the unsoiled perch.
Never give a feather to the edge of the snipped wire.
Never enjoy the hole and its ocean view.
It is what it can be. It is an object
With a title. It is a prince among princes.
It is a cenotaph for soaring souls that fear delight.
It is a third image of the blue peninsula.
It is ekphrasis redux. It is connected to this by this.
It is for this that I am.
Her words were heavenly enough to name that cage.
If I could—I would pin together the feathery paper scraps
Left behind—to build the poem named Object, Untitled.
If you look away, you can see a pair of hands separate from their wrists and know each part insists on equal truth. You can watch ankles wave good-bye to their feet and know neither is going away.
Knowledge, like love of anything is the water line that slices away the things below and sets them adrift in their own lighted shadows. Where are the caramel shoulders and the back as smooth and dark as a beetle's? Stars misdirect with their subtle angles. They hide right out in the open in the places they just left.
Sometimes when you think a woman is upstairs reading, she's in the pool pillowed deep in that old air-raft dangling her arms in the water.
First, be sure of the footing. After dark dew slickens the flat stones, and the long- handled net performs only half a balance bar's chore. Where the river runs swift the slim rod lies across the fulcrum of the hips, using the energy of sex against the water's push. If the sport is conquest a game of brain over fin, it will take a bucket filled to equal a trophy. If the sport is supper and soup is soup whether herring or shad each dip fills as much stomach as a ladle.
Either way, the narrows glint silver and blue like a collection of antique letter openers. Each fish slices through its windowed envelope and is cashed as quickly as an unexpected check.
Every time the Boatman leans against his pole and pushes the water's solid floor, his pole turns into a newspaper hat leaving no connection between hands and earth.
His passengers always arrive at their destination and yet the canal is littered with old news and the melting gray dye of a cheap sweater in the wash. Should I try propelling a boat with a paper hat or is motion more personal than that?
No slime precedes its silent arrival only rumors of slime, hard enough to pave a victim’s path.
Its vagabond bindle is slick but dry, like shellac, and handsome deep mustard with mahogany stripe. It leeches, from my memory, lazy hitches up to Maine, hoisting my own coiled pack and battered cardboard lettered “North” on one side, “Rockland” on the other.
It fields a foot where the stomach should be, and ripples the tacky callous, pulling itself over the smooth pebbles like a tank. It lumbers ass-backwards, up my coopered planter.
When eye to eye it appears more cartoon than creature looping its tentacles in opposite orbits. Thinking this its female side, I look for a strap or string in which to wedge a dollar while she wiggles as slowly as Welk’s baton. In France, it would be hauled off as cargo: sixty to a pound, six to a serving. In my garden, it finds its own way walking the walk, pacing the pace.
No one likes everything. We explore. We discover. We winnow.
When young we are silly in our devotion to music. We pretend. We imitate our favorite artists. When Midnight Train to Georgia comes on the radio, I still turn into a Pip. Jimmy Buffet’s A Pirate Looks at Forty still touches me.
I am similarly affected when I encounter good and great art and poetry. Joseph Cornell, Seamus Heaney, Louise Nevelson, Louise Gluck, Giorgio de Chirico, William Carpenter, Dali. When I see a Duchamp that nails it for me, I have the urge to windmill my arm like Pete Townshend.
What if we let art and poetry sneak up on us like music? What if art came in 3 minute bursts and had a volume knob? What if?